And Why Voting Is A Necessary Step Towards Our More Perfect Union

Make no mistake about it: in 2018 the President, his party, and their supporters are desperately resorting to overt fear and racism strategies to maintain power in the face of an anticipated blue wave. These attacks (plus voter suppression, voter erasure / purging, felon disenfranchisement, the corrupting influence of big money in politics, gerrymandering, vulnerable voting systems, and trojan media) constitute the deadly sins plaguing our Republic. These sins are the result of centuries of efforts to maintain an America rooted in racism, fear of the unknown and dehumanization of the other: the woman, the youth, the foreigner, the melanated, the poor, and the unprivileged — all for the benefit of the few.

It is no secret to anyone but the conspicuously naive and the emotionally unattached that racism is our country’s original sin. Racism and its pervasive impact has had a vein in the country since its founding.

Unfortunately, private actors and public policy have consistently been used to deny people full personhood while suppressing fundamental rights, such as voting. This was done at the founding of our nation, where African and Native Americans were denied legal personhood and voting rights. Government abandonment of Reconstruction after the Civil War gave rise to a Jim Crow state which fundamentally subjugated African Americans and other groups to second-class disenfranchised citizens — which was reinforced by private actors.

More recently, voter suppression efforts have been coupled with reductions to the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division’s budgets and the curtailment of voting rights protections. Very succinctly, racial public policy fuels and supports, and reinforces private racist agendas and the Southern Strategy that together systematically disenfranchise  people of color. Now, in 2018 the President and his party trump subvertness of the racist Southern Strategy for more overt racism of old. And this is done for no other purpose than to preserve an existing social order rooted in White Supremacy through the fear, hatred, and anti-black resentment that benefits only a handful of the few at the expense of the many. This is the America the President and the GOP are standing for — one rooted in 1818 and 1918 values imposed on the 2018 century. They stand for it because they fear the loss of unearned privilege this state of affairs provides them.

 

“The people we vote for must have the mindset, not of saviors, nor as liberators, but as joint heirs in the promise of a better America where because justice and equity are supreme, righteousness reigns throughout the Republic like a mighty stream.”

This fact should be something we work to curtail and correct for. Instead, the actions and policies of previous weeks heading towards the midterms demonstrate the rising strength of overtly Presidentially-sanctioned racism and encouragement.

This hatred isn’t limited to the deep recesses of the internet, it’s a blatant component of the 2018 elections. These include,  intensified voter suppression efforts in places such as Georgia, Florida, and North Dakota. This also includes political ads in Little Rock, Arkansas warning black Americans that voting Democrat in this upcoming election will lead to lynching of black men.

On the subject of lynching, a child  of Ferguson, Missouri activist was killed and possibly lynched. Meanwhile, a bystander was told by an individual that Whites don’t kill Whites after that individual killed two black people in a Kroger supermarket in Kentucky. And who can forget the brutal mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the CNN report of teachers in Idaho dressing up as a Border Wall tagged with the phrase Make America Great Again,  and the repeated threats of voter intimidation tactics being employed against minority voters on election day.

The GOP’s use of xenophobia in campaign ads in places such as Virginia combined with the Presidential use of xenophobia around deploying troops to the border against caravans of refugees over 700 miles away, while calling for the termination of the 14th Amendment’s guarantee  birthright citizenship,  (co-signed by Senator Lindsey Graham) serves no other purpose but to draw out the worst of our nation. During all this, Attorney General Sessions cut funding for the Department of Homeland Security to monitor nationalist hate groups while increasing monitoring against BLM at the same time.

Then, just days before the midterms, the President and the GOP release a campaign ad accusing Democrats of plotting to help refugees, whom they depict as Central American invaders, overrun the nation with cop killers while launching “magical negro” robocalls from “Oprah” against Stacey Abrams in Georgia — ploys  not denounced by senior RNC leadership.

Individually, each of the aforementioned acts are disgusting dog-whistles. Collectively, these bull horns are an indictment of the moral repugnancy that historically and presently plagues the nation.  Through this, the President and his party are invoking the ghost of Confederates past to birth the furtherance of a traditionally non-inclusive and hypocritical America in all walks of life.

But just because this is the America the President and his party stands for does not mean this is the America that must continue moving forward. There are many of us left in this nation who envision an America that is a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope to the outcasts and downtrodden of the world because we are the home to the poor, tired, huddled masses of the world who simply yearn to breathe free. This is true for the natives who were subjugated on their own land, this is true for the Western European and Central American immigrants who came here seek a new start that comes from freedom, and this is true for the children of the kidnapped and enslaved who simply want to be fully free.

Universally, this has always been the firm hope of our mothers and dreams of our fathers. However, the manifestation of their hopes and dreams will not simply occur over time. Frankly, time is neutral. In and of itself, it will not change things. However, with courage and initiative, people like you and I can change things over time.

So if an inclusive America is what we want then we have duty to use our time to fight for it on behalf of ourselves, our sons, and our daughters. That duty starts with sending a sharp rebuke that the existing political and social climate will not be tolerated and all those responsible for its promulgation and incitement will be held accountable.

And this is why voting in this midterm matters — and why Republicans have worked so hard to limit who can vote in this election. We are in a battle for the heart and soul of the nation. But it is not enough to just vote out Republicans and vote in Democrats. We have to vote in people committed to equity and restorative justice as the pathway to the fulfillment of the American Creed — a nation established on the principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. And the people we vote for must have the mindset, not of saviors, nor as liberators, but as joint heirs in the promise of a better America where because justice and equity are supreme, righteousness reigns throughout the Republic like a mighty stream.

As a concluding thought, many years ago my father was talking to three of his children about the branches of government and asked us which branch do we consider  the most powerful. My siblings and I each mentioned one of the three traditional branches. He then told us were wrong and then we all went then it must be the media. What my father then taught us is that the most underestimated, yet most powerful, branch of the government is the power of the people through the ballot.  When the people are united by vision and driven by mission, no amount of corporate money, racial intimidation, gerrymandering, nor suppression, nor Court, nor Congress, nor President can stop them from bring the desired change in direction and destiny of the nation to fruition. The real question then, is not what will Congress or the Courts or the President or the Media do — it is what the people will allow and demand them to do. As long as we the people allow the status quo to continue, our nation will be none of what it can be and all of what it shouldn’t be.

For this reason, Brand New Congress writes to the nation at this very hour encouraging everyone who shares our vision to unite via the power of the ballot to save America from confusion and division. We write at this very hour to encourage everyone to unite via the power of the ballot to bring about a Republic rooted in moral law and a just order built, not  on simply finding common ground, but recognizing and further forging our common humanity so that we are truly indivisible on moral higher ground. We write at this very hour because fundamentally we are bound to one another, until all of us are free none of us are free. Voting in the midterms is not the end all be all to be sure, but it is a powerful first step that we cannot afford to not take at this hour.

Ron Stubblefield is an Economic Development Consultant and Attorney. He volunteers with Brand New Congress by contributing to platform and policy development and commenting on the issues that matter to voters.